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AFP
August 9, 2020

England set 277 to win first Test against Pakistan

Sports

AFP
August 9, 2020

MANCHESTER: England were set a challenging target of 277 to win the first Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Saturday after Yasir Shah led a valuable late-order batting assault by the tourists. Yasir made a quickfire 33 off just 24 balls, including five fours and a six.

A brief session saw Pakistan add 32 runs in 16 balls before they were dismissed for 169 in their second innings.

Only twice has a team chased more than 200 to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford, with England making 294-4 against New Zealand in 2008 and 231-3 against the West Indies at the Manchester ground in 2004.

Yasir had already taken 4-66 in his primary role as a leg-spinner during England’s modest first-innings 219. Pakistan resumed on 137-8, a lead of 244, after they had lost four wickets late on Saturday, with star all-rounder Ben Stokes striking twice shortly before stumps to help drag England back into the match.

But Stokes did not bowl on Saturday, with England captain Joe Root opting for a combination of Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad. Yasir, 12 not out overnight, extended the lead past 250 by taking 10 runs off the first three balls of Saturday’s play from fast bowler Archer.

A clipped legside two was followed by a powerful pull for four well in front of square from a short ball that did not get up. And when Archer dropped short outside off stump, Yasir cleverly uppercut him high over the slips for another boundary, with 11 runs in total coming off the first over.

Yasir then promptly clubbed Broad’s first ball of the day through midwicket for four. And he surpassed that stroke when, two balls later, he hoisted Broad for a magnificent six. Broad had Yasir caught behind but by then the damage had been done.

Last man Naseem Shah then played a shot worthy of a top order batsman when he got off the mark first ball by lofting Broad straight back over his head for four before he was bowled by Archer. England are trying to end a run of losing the first Test in each of their last five series.

This is the first of a three-Test contest, with Pakistan having not lost a series against England since 2010.

Meanwhile, Ollie Robinson will join the England squad ahead of next week’s second Test against Pakistan at Southampton, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Saturday.

The uncapped fast bowler was due to play for Sussex in their Bob Willis Trophy match against Kent at Canterbury but has been withdrawn from that fixture.

He will now join up with the Test squad in their bio-secure ‘bubble’ at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl headquarters on Monday.

Robinson was a member of the England squad at the start of the West Indies series last month, a campaign England won 2-1, and took eight wickets against Hampshire in the first round of county action.